When Democrats assumed power this past winter, they pledged not to replicate what many saw as a crucial blunder during the Obama years. They enacted laws that did two things well: they ensured benefits were fully guaranteed and ensured the impact was visible.
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The outcome was a COVID assistance package that comprised cash subsidies of up to $1,400 for most Americans, weekly welfare benefit supplements of $300, and a one-year extension of the child tax credit.
Whatever political gains the package was expected to bring have apparently dissipated nine months later. Concerns over the ongoing pandemic have overtaken the public’s enthusiasm for cash subsidies.
The federal unemployment benefits program expired in September; neither the national government nor state governments appear to be interested in extending it.
While Democrats are attempting to extend the enhanced child tax credit beyond its December deadline, current polling data indicates they are receiving little praise for it.
— 🌊 R Saddler (@Politics_PR) October 5, 2021
According to a Politico/Morning Research survey taken last week, 61% of respondents indicated they have obtained the credit, which includes a $300 monthly payment for children under the age of seven and a $250 monthly payment for children under the age of 17.
However, just 39% of respondents thought the money made a significant impact in their lives. While Democrats received 47 percent of the vote for the increased child tax credit, President Biden received only 38 percent of the vote.
These figures are causing consternation on Capitol Hill; there are increasing concerns that (in a rush to maintain legislative dynamism all over infrastructure and Biden’s Build Back Better socioeconomic spending plan) the Democrat Party failed to emphasize the supposed advantages of their first major bill, the American Rescue Plan.
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“It’s fantastic to deliver and achieve things,” one top Senate Democrat aide said, “but you have to really go out and tell the f—-ing world about it. That isn’t going to be a two-month effort. It has to continue.”
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— David Stockman (@DA_Stockman) October 6, 2021
It’s also forcing party officials to reconsider the calculations they made in January. Giving them money might not have been the clear-cut political winner they had hoped for.
“I think we should do reasonable things and use our authority while we have it,” Adam Jentleson, a former party strategist said. “However, you should do things because they’re the proper thing to do, not just because you expect a great political payday.”
As Jentleson and others pointed out, the moral argument for extending the child tax credit is compelling. In July 2021, Columbia University researchers discovered that 59.3 million children across the country received the money.
According to them, the scheme “kept three million youngsters out of poverty” in just one month. If the initiative is extended for the whole time, it has the potential to “decrease monthly poverty by up to 40%.”